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York County near top in Pa.'s 2016 visitor spending

Jana Benscoter
York Dispatch
Middle Atlantic Junior Olympic Swimming is among events York County Convention & Visitors Bureau attributes to York County's ranking in visitors spending. (York County CVB/photo)

New events, as well as York County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s signature attractions, are the reason why visitors spent a record $973.6 million in 2016, according to the bureau, which garnered the county a top 10 spot among all Pennsylvania counties for visitor spending that year.  

York County is part of the Dutch Country Roads Region, which ranked as Pennsylvania's No. 2 tourist region, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office recently reported in the 2016 Tourism Economics report.

The region "trails only Philadelphia and its Countryside," the bureau reported. 

When broken down, of the nine counties in the Dutch Country Roads Region, the bureau noted, "York County ranked third in visitor spending, behind just Dauphin and Lancaster counties." 

Dennis Hall, of Forest Hill, Md., left, and Larry Eyring, of New Freedom, right, look on as  Partner and Winemaker Stephen Bahn, of Logan's View Winery talks about the facility during the 2017 Tour de Tanks event on the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail at Logan's View Winery in Codorus Township, Sunday, March 12, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Spending jumped $30 million from 2015 to 2016, state data shows. Not only has York County experienced visitor spending growth for seven years, but it also has grown throughout the past decade by more than 31 percent, the bureau stated. 

“The new data confirms what we already knew: Tourism is an important economic driver for hotels, restaurants and small businesses all across York County,” said Anne Druck, the outgoing president of the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“When visitors come to York for factory tours, sporting events or to enjoy a day in the vineyard, they spend money that is reinvested into our community," she said. "Whether it’s a restaurant adding more staff for a busy weekend or a municipality using tax revenue to maintain streets, parks and vital services, the impact of tourism can be seen all around us.” 

In this file photo, Shane Woolf, 12, center right, of Sussex, New Jersey, takes down Nick Nosler, 11, of Champaign, Illinois, in the 100-pound weight class during Tyrant Duals at Utz Arena on York Fairgrounds in York City, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Tyrant Duals was new to York County in 2016 and helped make the region a top tourist destination that year.

Tourism Economics shows that in 2016 York County visitors spent: $288.6 million on transportation; $226.9 million on food and beverage; $174.1 million on retail; $171.6 million on recreation; and $112.3 million on lodging. Spending in all categories increased from 2015, the bureau stated. 

“In fact, when considering traveler activity combined with government spending and capital investment in support of tourism, York County’s total travel demand reached $1,020,000 in 2016,” said Mark Sindicich, owner of Victor’s Italian Restaurant in Spring Garden Township and board chairman for the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau.   

New 2016 events included: 

• Tyrant Duals

• Irish Rumble

• Middle Atlantic Junior Olympic Swimming

• Keystone Region Volleyball Association Girl’s 12U-17U

• PA Bar Exam

• Tim Weaver International (Gymnastics)

York County Convention & Visitors Bureau signature events include: 

• Mason-Dixon Wine Trail’s Tour de Tanks

• Made in America Tours Event

• Mason-Dixon Wine Trail’s Wine Just Off the Vine